June 28, 2023 714 PM
MARFA — Marfa resident Patricio Javier “P.J.” Serrano, who was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on the charge of “possession of child pornography” pleaded not guilty to the charge during an arraignment hearing last week.
The plea of not guilty was entered in the U.S. District Court in Pecos, presided over by Judge David Fannin. Serrano will now have the option to either pursue a plea agreement, with a deadline of July 26, or go to trial. A preliminary trial date has been set for August 14 in Pecos before Judge David Counts.
Serrano, 35, has been held without bond since his arrest on May 5, when investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Department of Public Safety executed a search warrant for Serrano and his residence, and discovered multiple images and videos of child sex abuse material involving prepubescent boys on his Samsung Galaxy smartphone, per the criminal complaint.
Additional electronics and personal belongings of Serrano’s, including tablets, documents, pornographic DVDs, a digital camera, and more were seized by law enforcement, according to court documents.
Earlier this month, a previous romantic partner of Serrano’s, Sonya Murillo, was arrested and charged with child sexual exploitation after a Texas Department of Public Safety agent discovered video evidence of Murillo performing sex acts on a young child.
At least eight saved Snapchat videos were found when “conducting a forensic review of a cell phone from a different child pornography investigation in Marfa,” per the complaint. Investigators have not yet commented on whether or not the two cases are related.
Murillo, 32, is being held without bond after she waived her right to a detention hearing earlier this month.
Serrano’s attorney, Shane O’Neal, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to requests for comment by press time.